Summer Opportunities To Look For Now

By Megan Briggs

When applying to colleges, one of the most common questions students have is, “How can I make myself stand out?” Summer is a great time to do this! You have 3 months freed from school where you can gain an experience elsewhere that can show colleges your passion and work ethic. Summer programs at elite colleges are just one of the many things you can do. If you’re still trying to think of something, here’s some different activities:

Summer Job

Although not the most glamorous way to spend the summer, a job can be a great way to earn some money and gain work experience. Colleges like to see students working hard and taking responsibility!

An internship can be a fantastic way to make yourself stand out to colleges and show that you are an opportunistic individual. Aim for something in the field that you’re interested in majoring in. Consider using sites such as LinkedIn, PeerLift, and

Obviously a summer program at a college is a great opportunity that the Joyce
Ivy Foundation supports, but there are other programs out there that you may never have heard of. PeerLift is a great website for this. You could also consider going to a summer camp or even becoming a camp counselor!

Of course everyone wants to travel, but it can be costly. I added it to the list anyways, because there are ways around the big price tag! Mission trips or service trips are great experiences. Many people that go on trips like that fundraise all of the money, because friends and family are often willing to help people go on humanitarian trips that are making a difference.

All of these things are great ways to make your summer count and to help you stand out as an applicant. I have a lot of experience in filling up my summers!

The summer after my freshman year, I went to a week-long summer camp. Following that week I came back for two more weeks as a volunteer. It was a lot of fun and a great way to gain volunteer experience! The summer after my sophomore year, I attended the High School Summer Scholars program at Washington University in St. Louis for 5 weeks, courtesy of the Joyce Ivy Foundation. It was one of the best summers I’ve ever had and I learned so much! While at home I also worked at the library, my year-round job. Last summer I traveled to Togo, West Africa, for 3 weeks to do mission-work at a hospital in the region of Mango. I was only able to do this because I stayed with my wonderful aunt and uncle, who are missionaries there. This is an example of using your personal connections, which is really helpful in landing a job, an internship, or maybe even a travel opportunity! Now I’m a senior, and just submitted several job applications to hopefully secure a second job this summer so that I can save money for college. Whatever you end up doing, the most important thing is that you make it worthwhile!

The posts published on the blog are written by a talented group of Joyce Ivy Fellows, who are all members of the Publications Team. To see who the members are, please visit here.

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